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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What documents do I need for doing my taxes?

Every year my husband and I have our taxes prepared, for a few years we had someone who came to our house, the only downfall of this was she wasn't able to e-file for us. We started taking our taxes to someone who was able to e-file, the problem with this is we aren't in our house so with out fail most years it would take 2 appointments, the second appointment was to drop off the paperwork we had forgotten the first time and sign the finished documents.

Below is my list that has streamlined our tax appointment to one visit:


  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for you, your spouse and your dependants
  • Last years tax return and amount paid for preparing the return
  • Amount of State and local income tax paid last year
  • ALL w-2's, 1098,1099 or Schedule K-1
  • Records of mortgage interest,real estate and personal property tax
  • Closing documents (ex. HUD statement) for a home purchased in the year you are filing for
Income and Investments:
  • Income and expense records for work you performed not shown on W-2 or 1099
  • Records of other income and expenses (jury duty,gambling, alimony,rental etc.)
  • Purchase date and your total investment in any stocks or other property sold
  • Expenses related to your investment
Charitable Donations
  • Amounts donated to churches, schools or other organizations
  • Records of non cash donations
  • Record of miles driven for charitable purposes
Deductions and Expenses
  • Record of childcare and higher education costs
  • Record of miles driven for medical purposes and amounts paid for healthcare (insurance,doctors,dentists, hospitals, etc.)
  • Employment related expenses (travel, tools, uniforms, etc.)
  • Record of amount paid for vehicle registration
  • Record of HSA contributions, alimony paid, moving expenses and student loan interest paid

Thursday, October 25, 2012

PDT Titanium Implant Scalers

My  PDT scalers just arrived last week and they are amazing! The dental office that I practice in has a large implant component and I have always HATED our "plastic instruments" and the  special implant ultrasonic insert has always seemed like a waste of time as well. I found that I could get the best results by using a plastic probe. 

Unfortunately I am seeing more and more elderly patients who have had implants placed in the past and are having difficultly with their home care and calculus is forming around the implant. These scalers are the answer I have been looking for. 
Click here for information on ordering PDT titanium implant scalers

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's the biggest party on earth,...and you're invited.

According to Google the internet is just that- a party, growing everyday and showing no signs of stopping. The challenge becomes how do we put the internet to use for us as dental hygienists?
Social media can work to our advantage as hygienists in two very different ways. The first directly affecting the dental office that we practice in and the second affecting our ability to educate and communicate with our patients.
Never before have we had such an opportunity to take an active role in advancing and growing the dental practices we work in. In the past the phone book was considered the best form of advertisement and for the most part our hands were tied as far as promoting ourselves professionally. Now we are in a time when paid advertisements take a back seat to genuine personnel reviews and online recommendations. One patient’s experience, good or bad can easily reach the eyes of countless potential patients.
In most areas of the country the competition in the dental field is fierce, both for the dental office trying to remain profitable and acquire new patients, and for dental hygienists trying to find employment. More and more dentists are looking for prospective new team members who can help advance their dental practice as well as provide their patients with excellent treatment. If you show an interest in advancing the office and provide innovative ideas to improve areas such as new patients, patient retention and patient education it can set you apart from your compition. As with any business a thriving profitable dental office is usually more enjoyable to work in, usually pays better and rewards their employees better.
A few ideas for promoting yourself/dental office through social media:

·         Asking your patients who enjoy and appreciate the services you provide for them in the dental office to review the dental practice that you work for on sites such as Google+

·         Offering incentives for patients who “check in” on sites such as 4 square while in the office, or “like” your offices Facebook page

·         Mentioning interesting things about your office on your personnel Facebook page.
A hygienist friend of mine posts a few times a month something about her day at work “Happy Birthday Dr. Smith- you’re the best” , “we have the best patients, Thank you Mrs. Jones for the donuts” and a picture. Her latest post “I spent the last hour trying to convince a patient that her mouth is actually connected to her body and therefore affects her overall health.” The posts are nothing pushy but they show that she likes her job and the office sounds like a nice place to be. As a prospective patient I would find these things inviting.

The number one concern of offices that I work with on their marketing strategies is always over the time involved in maintaining an active social media presence. The solution that I have seen work the best is to set up a schedule and divide out the responsibilities of posting on social media sites and your office blog. Another solution is to make it priority if there is a cancellation or a few open minutes. The benefit of social media information sharing is three fold-
1)      Prospective new patients- Although most offices aren’t seeing droves of new patients due to Facebook the name recognition and ease of accessibility can result in new patients
2)      Information Sharing- Keeping your patients informed of new accurate dental information, office happenings and promotions
3)      Increased SEO- Link your posts back to your website and post your latest blog entries. The back linking and additional traffic will help keep your offices website from getting buried in a sea of other dental offices
   All of these can prove valuable for the dental practice and since the investment is minimal social media a nice adjunct to most dental practices marketing plan

The second avenue for social media in dental hygiene is educating the masses.
For most of us this is our passion. We spent years learning about bacteria, decay and proper flossing technique. One by one we have tried to help our patients understand and improve their health. For most patients 1 hour two to three times a year isn’t enough time to discuss all of the topics we need to cover. Now we can expand our reach, we don’t have to wait for the patients to come to us. We can go to them- weather through Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, e-Newsletters. I would rather be the one informing my patients of new research or information pertaining to their dental health then pretty much any other source.
For example, Dr. Oz, currently a reputable medical advisor as far as the general public is concerned – recently he recommended viewers eat raisins to keep their teeth white because they will induce saliva flow. Another great tip (please pick up on my sarcasm here) swab a mixture of baking soda and lemon onto your teeth to whiten them.  It’s important that as a dental community we keep our patients informed with correct dental information.
I had the opportunity at the beginning of last month to attend a conference at the Colgate Technology Center. Colgate’s intention was to identify what we in the dental profession perceive as obstacles and short comings with social media and dental education. The number one topic of concern was how we get good reliable information spread to both consumers and professionals. The internet isn’t policed so it’s just as easy for me to put out information that says flossing is good as it is for someone to put out information saying putting Aspirin on your gum will help with a tooth ache.  
How do we spread good reliable information? By staying connected, by forming circles of people we trust to provide us with reliable information and passing that information along to those who trust our professional guidance. During the conference there were discussions about how important communities such as Hygiene Town are to our profession. The ability to stay connected with hygienists from around the country is so valuable and the information sharing keeps us all more informed and allows us to be better practitioners.
During our time at Colgate we were fortunate to spend time with the Head of Industry Healthcare for Google. She was able to shed some light on internet trends and predictions. Currently Google Plus is the largest growing widget with 90 million users. Google + allows us to form actual “circles” and allows for more targeting information sharing with the added benefit of privacy controls missing from other sites. An additional benefit is the ease of “recommending” places to people in your circle- it’s as easy as clicking +1. Patients who will actually write out a nice review tend to be few and far between, but the patient who will click +1, a little more common. To start your own business Google + page:

New sites such as  are starting to emerge and trying to fill the void of reliable dental patient resources on the web. This could be a great service to our patients and allow for the spread of accurate reliable dental information among the general public. Others are speculating that in the future people looking for information on the internet will associate reliable information with brand names. Companies such as Colgate are trying to provide dental professionals with information they can easily share with their patients through various social media outlets.
With a little time and minimal investment the rewards of joining the “social media party” can be beneficial for you and your patients.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Educating Patients on Caring for Dental Implants

Colgate has developed for dental professionals -- our New Expert Implant Care website ( This tool helps professionals provide the experiential content patients need to maintain their investment by providing expert advice on proper hygiene techniques. The website features a “Share this Website” tab that allows professionals to email or text a link to patients during a consultation. This replaces paper brochures that may never be reviewed with digital content delivered the way the patient prefers.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dental Insurance- good,BAD and UGLY

I can't tell you how many times a week a walk up to the front desk at my office and think to my self - "I am so glad I don't work in this part of the office". I think its important to have a good understanding of what goes on in that department but I wouldn't want to deal with people and their money for 30+ hours a week- NO THANK YOU! (I'll take infected gums any day)

My office is fee for service which means that our patients pay us the day of their services and then we submit the claim for them and they get a reimbursement check in the mail from their insurance company.

I think it is easiest for me to understand and explain why this is a good way to operate for dental offices by comparing it to medical insurance.

Take my sons recent visit to the doctor: (this is the actual breakdown of my insurance EOB)

My sons MD is a participating provider with our insurance company which means that he accepts what ever fee this insurance company tell him he can charge for his service- no matter how ridiculously low.

                                                  For this appointment the doctors fee is $158

                                                                  the insurance company paid $28.08

                                                                                                   I paid $  3.12

                                                                  the doctor had to write off   $126.80

          The insurance company set the fee for the MD's service at            $31.20

Anyone who doesn't have insurance would have to pay the $158 fee, so as a patient I am torn between being happy that I only have to pay $3 and annoyed that I have to wait in the waiting room forever because the doctor has to see 5 patients at a time to turn a profit because he is only getting paid 20% of his fee in most cases. Because I like this doctor I also hope that he is able to remain in business by only getting paid a fraction of what is owed to him.

As a dental practice that wants to provide our patients with great service we decided that allowing insurance to dictate our fees and essentially determine how we would need to book our schedules would not allow us to provide the kind of treatment we wanted to.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Free Trial of Sonicare AirFloss

I started my free trial of the Sonicare AirFloss on Wednesday of this week- I am on day number 3 and so far I am not impressed. I feel that it is similar to my water pik although requires more concentration because you have to push the button after you place it next to each tooth. I also don't like that I can feel the suck back after each burst of air.

I was excited and hopeful that I would fall in love with this product because I LOVE MY FLEXCARE. I held out hope even after we had  lunch with the representative from Sonicare who told us there isn't really any research to prove that it is effective or superior in any way because they didn't want to replace flossing (I took this as they are scared of a backlash from the dental community... remember the Listerine commercial).I did find some research information on their site click here. And then she said  "something is better then nothing" which is a true statement but not one that makes me want to send all of my patients running to the store to pick one up.

I have read a lot of reviews of people who are using the AirFloss and like it- I would be curious to see what your thoughts are on it. Sonicare is offering a free trial click here for more information. or you can call Sonicare at 1.800.676.SONIC (7664)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Colgate Connect 2012

May 1st-2nd I had the privilege of meeting with some of our industries most influential "online influencers"- according to Colgate.  We were invited by Colgate to consult with their marketing team as well as their research and design team on the needs of our fellow colleagues as well as dental consumers.

It was an amazing trip to New Jersey where Colgate's Technology center is located.

  •  We toured the facility and yes we now know how the toothpaste makes it into the tube 
  • A member of Google was part of our meeting and was full of information on ways to maximize your presence online and stand out in what she called a "party that never stops and is getting bigger everyday." (Information on both of these topics coming soon!)

Below are the guests of Colgate Connect and links to their sites:

 also visit TheDental Implant Blog
also visit The Endo Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Again... Twice in One Month!

I don't know if every one's patients are as up on dental news as mine are but this month has been full of discussions about x-rays and heart disease.

Just as the waters seem to be settling on the new finding on x-rays the following study emerges and muddies the waters on gum disease.

A doctor I work for made this comparison:
"Studies show that drinking red wine reduces your chance of heart disease. But it is impossible to tell if it is the red wine or other factors in the life style of someone who drinks red wine (as compared to someone who drinks beer...) that is actually responsible for the lower risk." B.R.

Below is a summary of the AHA findings, followed by a statement released by The Canadian Dental Association.

No proof that gum disease causes heart disease or stroke
 April 18, 2012 
Statement Highlights: There is no convincing evidence that proves gum disease causes heart disease or stroke, or treating gum disease reduces the risk of those diseases. Gum and heart disease share common risk factors, including smoking, age and diabetes, which is possibly why the diseases often occur in the same person.
 EMBARGOED UNTIL 3 pm CT/4 pm ET, Wednesday, April 18 DALLAS, April 18, 2012 —
 Despite popular belief, gum disease hasn’t been proven to cause atherosclerotic heart disease or stroke, and treating gum disease hasn’t been proven to prevent heart disease or stroke, according to a new scientific statement published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.

 Keeping teeth and gums healthy is important for your overall health. However, an American Heart Association expert committee -- made up of cardiologists, dentists and infectious diseases specialists -- found no conclusive scientific evidence that gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, causes or increases the rates of cardiovascular diseases. Current data don’t indicate whether regular brushing and flossing or treatment of gum disease can cut the incidence of atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes. Observational studies have noted associations between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, but the 500 journal articles and studies reviewed by the committee didn’t confirm a causative link. “There’s a lot of confusion out there,” said Peter Lockhart, D.D.S., co-chair of the statement writing group and professor and chair of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. “The message sent out by some in healthcare professions that heart attack and stroke are directly linked to gum disease, can distort the facts, alarm patients and perhaps shift the focus on prevention away from well known risk factors for these diseases.” Gum disease and cardiovascular disease both produce markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein, and share other common risk factors as well, including cigarette smoking, age and diabetes mellitus . These common factors may help explain why diseases of the blood vessels and mouth occur in tandem. Although several studies appeared to show a stronger relationship between these diseases, in those studies researchers didn’t account for the risk factors common to both diseases. “Much of the literature is conflicting,” Lockhart said, “but if there was a strong causative link, we would likely know that by now.” A large, long-term study would be needed to prove if dental disease causes heart disease and stroke, he said. Such a study isn’t likely to be done in the near future, and it’s most important to let patients know “what we know now, and what we don’t know,” Lockhart said.

 For more than a century, doctors have proposed that infected gums lead to systemic problems like heart disease, and we know that mouth bacteria frequently enter the blood stream during dental procedures and during naturally occurring events such as tooth brushing. “We already know that some people are less proactive about their cardiovascular health than others. Individuals who do not pay attention to the very powerful and well proven risk factors, like smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure, may not pay close attention to their oral health either” Lockhart said. Statements that imply a cause and effect relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, or claim that dental treatment may prevent heart attack or stroke are “unwarranted,” at this time, the statement authors said. The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs agrees with the conclusions of this report. The statement has been endorsed by the World Heart Federation.

 The statement’s writing group was co-chaired by Ann F. Bolger, M.D. Other co-authors are Panos N. Papapanou, D.D.S., Ph.D.; Olusegun Osinbowale, M.D.; Maurizo Trevisan, M.D.; Matthew E. Levison, M.D.; Kathryn A. Taubert, Ph.D.; Jane W. Newburger, M.D., M.P.H; Heather L. Gornik, M.D., M.H.S.; Michael H. Gewitz, M.D.; Walter R. Wilson, M.D.; Sidney C. Smith Jr., M.D.; and Larry M. Baddour, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

 Learn more about how a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating are important steps toward good health. Take these free risk assessment quizzes and find your personal risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes. Visit the American Stroke Association site for comprehensive info on stroke. ### The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at . NR12-1061 (Circ Statement/Lockhart) Additional resources, including multimedia, is available on the right column of this link: For Media inquiries: (214) 706-1173 Maggie Francis: (214) 706-1382; Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135; Julie Del Barto (broadcast): (214) 706-1330; For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and

 The Canadian Dental Association reaffirmed on Friday their position after consulting with the Canadian Medical Association and CHA: 
 Association between Periodontal Disease and Systemic Disease The Canadian Dental Association recognizes the impact of systemic diseases, such as diabetes and immuno-compromised states on the periodontal tissues. A report on oral health (‘Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General’) released May 25, 2000 supports the possible association between periodontal disease and systemic disease. This report suggests that the signs and symptoms of life-threatening diseases may appear in the mouth long before they show up in other parts of the body. The Surgeon General’s report highlights a bi-directional interaction between oral and systemic health. Systemic conditions noted to occur with oral manifestations include diabetes, cutaneous diseases, hereditary disease, joint disease, immuno-compromised states and osteoporosis. Recent evidence presented in this report, primarily from epidemiological studies, now suggests that there may be an association between periodontitis and certain systemic disorders, notably cardiovascular disease (artherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes) and complications of pregnancy (pre-term birth and low birthweight infants). While a number of interactions have been identified, other reviewers suggest no or limited relationship. Therefore, additional research is needed to evaluate disease pathogenesis, relationships to the oral cavity and possible therapeutic interventions. Dentists and dental specialists are constantly looking for signs and symptoms of these diseases, which can be detected during regular oral health and physical examinations. The Canadian Dental Association recognizes the Surgeon General’s report but recommends that further emphasis should be placed on research and educating dentists, physicians, students, residents, other healthcare professionals and most importantly, patients regarding the importance of these possible relationships. This report places oral health in the perspective of systemic health and suggests that the dental and medical professions need to develop even closer ties in the future. Approved CDA Board of Directors February 2005

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Have you seen these?

I recently had a chance to use an instrument that I had never seen before- the O'Hehir curettes.
If you haven't had a chance to try these out I would highly recommend them!

O’Hehir New Millennium curettes from PDT have small scooped blades with 310-degree radius cutting edges. They have the toe of a curette without the interference of the remaining unused portion of a traditional blade. This unique design allows the clinician to reach areas missed by traditional curette blades. New Millenium curettes can be used with a push or pull motion and in vertical, horizontal, and diagonal directions.

To order these instruments CLICK HERE

Monday, April 16, 2012

Have you seen how much sugar is in RedBull?

This would be a great poster to take into schools:

CLICK HERE to see the original post

Looking for other ideas to take into the classroom- click here

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

X-rays in the News

The following is an article that has been receiving a lot of attention recently.

It my belief that this was a poorly written article on a poorly performed study.I do however take pride that I work in an office that has invested in digital radiography to provide our patients with the safest and best treatment possible.

Although I believe this is drawing a lot of negative attention to preventive care I am optimistic that it will force other dental practitioners to follow guidelines that have been established and upgrade equipment to provide better care.

Additional information is available:

ADA Press Release on dental xrays
Common Dosages of Ionizing Radiation in Everyday life
Estimate your personnel annual radiation dose
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study suggests people who had certain kinds of dental X-rays in the past may be at an increased risk for meningioma, the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor in the U.S.

The findings cannot prove that radiation from the imaging caused the tumors, and the results are based on people who were likely exposed to higher levels of radiation during dental X-rays than most are today.

"It's likely that the exposure association we're seeing here is past exposure, and past exposure levels were much higher," said Dr. Elizabeth Claus, the study's lead author and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Claus and her colleagues write in the journal Cancer that dental X-rays are the most common source of exposure to ionizing radiation -- which has been linked to meningiomas in the past -- but most research on the connection is based on people who were exposed to atomic bombs or received radiation therapy.

There have been some studies that looked at dental X-rays, but they were from years ago and included fewer people than the current study, Claus noted. Still, they were generally in agreement with the new findings.

[RELATED VIDEO: Promising miniature x-ray device may limit exposure]

For her study, Claus' team recruited 1,433 people diagnosed with intracranial meningioma -- a tumor that forms in the tissues lining the brain -- between May 2006 and April 2011. All of the participants were diagnosed when they were between 20 and 79 years old and they were all from Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina or the Houston or San Francisco Bay areas.

For comparison, the researchers also followed 1,350 people who were similar in age, sex and state of residence as the study group, but who had not been diagnosed with a tumor.

The study looked at how often people had three different types of dental X-rays. They included a focused image of one area, a number of images of the full mouth and a single panoramic view of the entire mouth. These are known in dentistry parlance as bitewing, full-mouth and panorex films, respectively.

Each person was interviewed by someone trained to administer a questionnaire that asked about demographic details, family history of cancer, pregnancy and medical history. The interviewers also asked -- among other things -- about the person's history of dental work and the number of times they had the three types of dental x-rays taken throughout their life.

The researchers found that those diagnosed with meningiomas were more than twice as likely as the comparison group to report ever having had bitewing images taken.

And regardless of the age when the bitewings were taken, those who had them yearly or more frequently were at between 40 percent and 90 percent higher risk at all ages to be diagnosed with a brain tumor.

To put that in perspective, Dr. Paul Pharoah, a cancer researcher at the University of Cambridge said in a statement the results would mean an increase in lifetime risk of intracranial meningioma in the U.K. from 15 out of every 10,000 people to 22 in 10,000 people.

Panoramic X-rays taken at a young age, especially if done yearly or more often before age 10, also raised the risk of meningiomas by up to five times.

There was no association between full-mouth X-rays and the tumors, although the authors note they saw a trend similar to that seen for the bitewing X-rays.

The lack of association with full-mouth X-rays led one expert to question the connection.

"They found a small risk (from) a pair of bitewings, but not a full mouth series, which is multiple bitewings. That inconsistency is impossible to understand to me," said Dr. Alan Lurie, president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.

Lurie also echoed Claus' caution that radiation levels from dental X-rays when some of the participants were younger was much greater than is used now.

He does warn, however, patients shouldn't assume it's fine for the dentist to take X-rays.

"They should ask why are (dentists) taking this image and what is the benefit to me," he said.

The American Dental Association put out a statement in response to the study noting that the interviews relied on participants' memories of how often they had different types of X-rays years earlier.

The statement added, "The ADA's long-standing position is that dentists should order dental X-rays for patients only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Since 1989, the ADA has published recommendations to help dentists ensure that radiation exposure is as low as reasonably achievable."

Dr. Sanjay Mallya, an assistant professor the UCLA School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, said that patients should be concerned whenever they are exposed to radiation, but "it's important to emphasize that this concern should not mean that we shouldn't get X-rays at all."

According to the researchers, "while dental X-rays are an important tool in well selected patients, efforts to moderate exposure to (ionizing radiation) to the head is likely to be of benefit to patients and health care providers alike."

SOURCE: Cancer, online April 10, 2012.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Care for their Teeth

brushteeth 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Care for their Teeth

Proper dental hygiene is such an important part in maintaining healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime, and learning these good habits early on is crucial. When kids make brushing and flossing part of their daily routine it will become second nature by the time they reach adulthood. On the other hand, people who don’t learn proper dental care as children have a difficult time correcting bad habits later on. Since this is not something that comes naturally it needs to be taught, and some children aren’t going to be willing pupils. Here are 10 tips for teaching reluctant kids to care for their teeth.

(1)Lead by example – Kids love to emulate their parents, so leading by example is a must. Let your children watch you brush and floss and explain to them what you’re doing and why. They’ll love to feel like they’re able to something just like the grown-ups do.

(2)Start early – Children won’t be able to brush their teeth by themselves until the ages of 3 or 4, so you’ll have to do it for them until then. This will give them time to get used to the idea that this is a part of a normal daily routine and they’ll look forward to when they can do it on their own.

(3)Make it fun – Try to make brushing and flossing a fun activity and something to look forward to instead of just a chore. You can invent little games to play and be excited about it when they do a good job.

(4)Rewards – Be sure to reward kids when they achieve goals like brushing by themselves for the first time or not having to be reminded. Give them an extra bedtime story or let them stay up another 15 minutes to prove how grown-up they are.

(5)Plaque monsters – You can invent stories to help explain what happens if they don’t take care of their teeth. Tell them that after they eat food invisible plaque monsters are hiding in their teeth and they need to be brushed and flossed away.

Click Here to read the next 5 tips

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

103.5 FM- My Radio Show Debut

One of the Dr.'s that I work with has started co-hosting a radio show Wednesday evenings at 10:30pm. He asked me to sit in as his guest to discuss changes in dentistry.

Below is the link to listen to our show

CLICK HERE to listen to How Dental Cleanings Have Changed 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dental CBCT Scans

Facing the facts — dental CBCT and medical CT scans
by Dr Bruce Howerton, USA

Before a practitioner performs surgery, he/she should be equipped with up-to-date knowledge regarding the possible conditions located under soft tissue within the oral cavity.
Three-dimensional data generated by cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) technology offers a ‘surgical view’ or slices of the entire field of view from the front, side and under the patient. Cone beam scans assist with determining bone structure, tooth orientation, nerve canals and pathology; that in some cases may preclude the necessity for a surgical procedure.
In the past few weeks, various media sources have published articles regarding high exposure of radiation from medical CT scans. Unfortunately, these have generated misconceptions about the dental CBCT, or 3–D cone beam computed tomography scans. The dental CBCT imaging method allows dentists to obtain vital three-dimensional information without exposing patients to high levels of radiation that come from medical CT scans. An in-office imaging method is more convenient; it saves the patient travel time to and from the hospital and for follow-up examinations after treatment.
Dentists and other medical professionals ascribe to the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) protocol concerning radiation levels. This protocol guides practitioners to expose patients to the least amount of radiation possible while still gaining the most pertinent information for proper diagnosis. For example, for dentists placing implants, having this information beforehand is imperative to determining anatomical variations that can affect the procedure’s success or failure.
The differences between dental and hospital scans derive, in part, from the method of capturing the information. The average medical CT scan of the oral and maxillofacial area can reach levels of 1200-3300 microsieverts, the measurement of radiation absorbed by the body’s tissue. These significant levels are attributed to the method of exposing tissues to radiation.
With the hospital scan, the anatomy is exposed in small fan-shaped or flat slices, as the machine makes multiple revolutions around the patient’s head. To collect adequate formation, there is overlapping of radiation. In contrast, the dental scan captures all the anatomy in one single cone-shaped beam rotation, decreasing the exposure to the patient of up to 10 times less radiation.
For example, radiation exposure using the standard full field of view from an i-CAT CBCT machine (Imaging Sciences International) is 36 microsieverts. These machines are also available in different fields of view, thereby reducing radiation exposure even more, depending upon the needs of the patient. For other comparisons of exposure, consider that a typical 2D full mouth series runs 150 microsieverts while a 2D digital panoramic image ranges between 4.7-14.9 microsieverts.
Researchers who have developed this technology have achieved the goal of allowing dentists to achieve the same information gained from medical CT, without the additional radiation exposure. Dentists who do not own their own CBCT machines can take advantage of this imaging method by referring patients to imaging centers to acquire this valuable information.
The knowledge obtained from capturing 3D scans has the ability to influence the effectiveness and efficiency of dental treatment. A dental CBCT scan offers the views and detail needed to perform the latest procedures, while avoiding the unnecessary higher levels of radiation emitted from hospital scans.
As the technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for improved dental care can only increase. Increased software compatibility with surgical guides and orthodontic applications has made CBCT scanners an imperative for some dental offices.
As an oral maxillofacial radiologist and an educator, I firmly believe that with knowledge comes responsibility to provide patients with the best dental care in the safest way possible — a dental CBCT accomplishes this goal without the additional risks involved with hospital scans.
Dr Howerton is a board certified oral and maxillofacial Radiologist who practices privately in Raleigh, NC, USA.Facing the facts — dental CBCT and medical CT scans Dental Tribune International

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Common Dosages of Ionizing Radiation in Everyday Life

Activity or Event                       Effective Dose in     Dose as days of Equivalent   
                                                      Microsieverts        Background Radiation

Airport Body Scanner                                      0.02                       0.003
Kodak focused 3d front tooth x-ray                  4.7                         0.71
Daily exposure from food and water                  0.8                         1
1 day living in Bolivia                                         6                            1
Kodak 9000 Panorex                                       7                            1.06
Kodak 3d focused 3d back tooth                   18.8                         2.86
4 bw dental x-rays on film                               38                            5
Flight from Newark to Hong Kong                  40                            6
1 chest x-ray                                                 170                          25
1 mammogram                                              700                         106
1 year of background radiation                    2376                         360
Medical CT                                              10,000                      1515
Federal Occupational Safety Limit/year (Adult)  50,000                      7575

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dickies Natural Elements Scrub Top

If you are anything like me you have begun your countdown to spring- 16 more days...

I always like to get new seasonal scrubs, some how it makes going to work more enjoyable.
I was asked by Uniformed Scrubs to review the new Spring/Summer line of Dickies scrubs- I can't tell you how pleasantly surprised I was when the box arrived and inside was the Natural Elements v-neck scrub top.

First:  I love the pewter color, I have never really liked the bright busy scrubs but it is also
             available in Icy Turquoise that I will be ordering, and BLACK

Second: the material is amazing- (no one is paying me to say this)- seriously you need to feel it.
It's a blend of 55% Tencel, 45% Polyester- this material is going to become very popular, it is soft and washes and wears great! What is tencel you may be asking yourself...Lyocell or Tencel is a regenerated cellulose fiber made from dissolving pulp, so its also eco friendly- hence the name Natural Elements

Third: Details,details,details
  • button and belt loop details around the neckline
  • large patch pockets
  • cell phone pocket with button
  • side vent
This scrub top is available for purchase at

Use coupon code: 15pbrm 

Monday, February 13, 2012

My 2 New Favorite Things

I wanted to share with you my two latest 
Favorite Things


Pinterest is a pin board like social photo sharing website. It is full of great ideas for your house, your family and pretty much every other aspect of life, including.... Dental Hygiene. Below if a link that I found on Pinterest that is full of great ideas for teaching kids about dental care.

For some reason that I am not aware of you must be invited into and then wait for your acceptance to join Pinterest in order to start creating "boards"- these boards are how you save the ideas that you like so you can access them later.

If you would like to join Pinterest email me your email address at  and I will send you an invite. 

*Pinterest is currently the 3rd most popular social media site


Swype typing  is a super fast way to type, you don't have to lift your finger off of the touch key pad.
The video below can show you better then I can explain it but it has made my life a lot easier.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My YouTube Debut

This is a video testimonial that I did for my office about my experience with veneers.
I will be posting several of our YouTube videos over the next few days. We are just setting up our new YouTube channel and in the first few days it is important to have numerous people watching your videos from beginning to end and commenting on them.

If you have any videos you would like shared on this blog please send me the link.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Signs That Your Child's Tonsils May Be Causing Problems

As a dental hygienist part of my exam for patients is to check the back of the throat, of coarse I am evaluating soft tissue changes but I find quite often huge tonsils on small children.

Dentally we are concerned if the airway is limited because it can cause undesirable formation changes in the palate due to the way the tongue positions itself to allow for breathing. Long term this can result in extensive orthodontics.

More research is showing a correlation between children being misdiagnosed with ADHD when in fact the behavioral problems are the result of apnea issues (stopping breathing, typically when sleeping).
I am not making the claim that all ADHD cases are in fact related to tonsils- I am simply stating that this research is something to be aware of.

The following are questions to ask and signs to look for if you suspect your child has airway problems:

  Evaluate the size of the tonsils in relation to the size of the airway
  Evaluate the eyes- dark shiners under the eyes can often times be caused by tonsil problems

   Q:Does your child get frequent tonsil/sinus/ear infections, or have allergies?
  Q: Does your child snore?

  Q: Does your child breath through their mouth?

If your child has some or all of these signs frequently an evaluation by a ENT is recommended.
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